Royal Pharmaceutical Society calls for ‘Pharmacy First’ scheme for England in draft vision for pharmacy practice

The vision document, developed jointly with the King's Fund, is open for consultation until 30 September 2022.
Thorrun Govind, chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's English Pharmacy Board

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has said England should have its own version of the Scottish ‘Pharmacy First’ scheme within the next three to five years, as it consults on its ‘Vision for pharmacy practice’.

The draft vision document, which the RPS is developing jointly with The King’s Fund, is now being put out for consultation. The final version is expected to be published in December 2022.

As part of the consultation, the Society is keen to hear members’ views on six initial themes that have been put together following member-focused webinars held earlier in 2022 and a literature review by The King’s Fund.

The call for an English equivalent of Pharmacy First falls under the third theme, ‘Enhancing patient experience and access’.

In a statement on the launch of the consultation, the Society said it saw “community pharmacists providing a first point of care to the public supported by prescribing pharmacists and the wider pharmacy team”.

Writing in the Daily Mail Online on 14 October 2021, Sajid Javid, former UK health secretary, said that he would ask his department to explore the potential for an English version of the service.

In July 2022, Thorrun Govind, chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board, called upon his successor, Steve Barclay, to “see this through to completion”.

Under NHS Pharmacy First Scotland, which launched in July 2020, community pharmacies had carried out 3.3 million consultations as of March 2022.

The RPS and King’s Fund draft vision also calls for a “comprehensive pharmacy workforce strategy for pharmacy that includes pharmacists and pharmacy technicians” within the next three to five years.

In July 2022, the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee said that a workforce plan for pharmacy should be developed and laid before Parliament within 12 months, following evidence given by Ravi Sharma, director for England at the RPS, during an oral evidence session on 24 May 2022.

The joint vision also says that it ultimately sees community pharmacy teams routinely providing screening for early detection and prevention, and actively tackling pressing heath inequalities in their communities.

It foresees pharmacy teams being “the clinical leaders of services and innovative pathways which benefit patient care such as pharmacogenomic services, next generation advanced therapy personalised medicines, and personalised care” within ten years.

The draft vision is open for consultation until 30 September 2022, with anyone welcome to contribute, and can be accessed through the RPS website.

There will also be further virtual and face-to-face events at which members can share views, places at which can be reserved here.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, August 2022, Vol 309, No 7964;309(7964)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2022.1.153617

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